Queensland Literary Awards 2017 Fiction Winner: The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley

The Queensland Literary Awards ceremony was hosted by the State Library of Queensland on 4 October.

I am absolutely thrilled that Melissa Ashley has been awarded The University of Queensland Fiction Book Award for her novel The Birdman’s Wife, published by Affirm Press. So well deserved!

 

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About The Birdman’s Wife:

Inspired by a letter found tucked inside her famous husband’s papers, The Birdman’s Wife imagines the fascinating inner life of Elizabeth Gould, who was so much more than just the woman behind the man.

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover and helpmate to a passionate and demanding genius, and as a devoted mother who gave birth to eight children. In a society obsessed with natural history and the discovery of new species, the birdman’s wife was at its glittering epicentre. Her artistry breathed life into hundreds of exotic finds, from her husband’s celebrated collections to Charles Darwin’s famous Galapagos finches.

Fired by Darwin’s discoveries, in 1838 Elizabeth defied convention by joining John on a trailblazing expedition to the untamed wilderness of Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales to collect and illustrate Australia’s ‘curious’ birdlife.

From a naïve and uncertain young girl to a bold adventurer determined to find her own voice and place in the world, The Birdman’s Wife paints an indelible portrait of an extraordinary woman overlooked by history, until now.

 

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To read the full list of 2017 winners, visit Queensland Literary Awards, Winners and Finalists.

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